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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/H003630/1
Title: Resource implications of adaptation of infrastructure to global change
Principal Investigator: Dawson, Professor RJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Arizona State University Arup Group Ltd CABE
Cundall Johnston & Partners LLP (UK) eThekwini Municipality Greater London Authority (GLA)
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Res UCL
Department: Civil Engineering and Geosciences
Organisation: Newcastle University
Scheme: Career Acceleration Fellowship
Starts: 01 February 2010 Ends: 31 January 2015 Value (£): 1,065,844
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Sustainable Energy Networks
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Jul 2009 Fellowships 2009 Final Allocation Panel Announced
16 Jun 2009 Fellowships 2009 Interview - Panel F Deferred
Summary on Grant Application Form
This fellowship will develop a new generation of analysis and decision making tools required for engineers to respond to the challenges of intensifying global change. Consumption of energy and other resources is widely acknowledged to be unsustainable at today's rates. The world is therefore faced with the challenge of designing and implementing the transition to a more sustainable situation, a state in which greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption (e.g. energy, water, materials) are drastically reduced and our society is well adapted to the impacts of climate change. Infrastructure systems such as water, energy, transportation and waste are the array of physical assets (and associated processes) responsible for moving the goods and services that ensure the safety, health and wealth of cities and their inhabitants. Thus, design and management of infrastructure has implications in terms of vulnerability and resource consumption (e.g. denser cities use less energy per capita on private transport, but can aggravate flooding and heat stress). However, effective management of infrastructure systems is challenging because they (a) vary in space, (b) are highly interconnected, (c) interact strongly with an ever-changing environment and population, and, (d) deteriorate with age. Nowhere is this more evident than cities, where over half the global population live and more than three quarters of global resources are consumed. As cities adapt in response to global pressures such as climate change, it is crucial to understand the implications of these adaptations in terms of resource requirements to avoid confounding parallel sustainability initiatives. Whilst the vulnerability of the built environment to climate impacts is to some extent understood, resource flows, such as energy, waste and water within cities are currently poorly-understood and are generally considered in terms of gross inputs and outputs to the urban area. The relationship between urban form, function and these resource flows has only been established from observational evidence e.g. relating population density directly to total transport energy demand. This provides insufficient evidence to appraise, plan and design specific adaptations as it does not account for crucial properties of the urban system such as land use, human activity, or the topology and attributes of the infrastructure systems that mediate this, and other, relationships (for example, land use and flood risk). To plan and design adaptations in urban areas requires a capacity to analyse the behaviour of whole cities over timescales of decades, to simulate and test the effectiveness of alternative management options and to monitor and modify the system performance. The capacity to adequately understand and model processes of change within the coupled technological, human and natural systems that comprise cities does not yet exist. This fellowship will address this priority area, through the development of a novel coupled systems simulation model of urban dynamics, climate impacts and resource flows within cities. This systems integrated assessment model will be used to analyse the relationship between the spatial configuration of cities and their infrastructure systems, resource consumption and vulnerability to climate change impacts. Working closely with key stakeholders in industry and local government I shall develop, demonstrate and apply decision analysis methods to show how long term planning strategies can be developed for re-engineering cities from their 'traditional' form into more sustainable configurations.In doing this, I shall provide the evidence to underpin more sustainable engineering and policy decisions and reduce the harmful impacts of unmitigated global change in urban areas.
Key Findings
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Organisation Website: http://www.ncl.ac.uk